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GCSE options - Fine Art or Graphics? Which one would you advise her?

(8 Posts)
Ellybellyboo Wed 03-Feb-16 12:51:28

We had our Year 9 Options evening last week and DD had pretty much decided what she's going for but has looked into the courses a bit more and had a chat with her teacher and is now unsure.

Her heart really lies in the fine art, but had decided on graphics - the GCSE is more 'useful' and she'd be able to combine her fine art with the graphics

However, she's looked more into the graphics course and she feels it's not quite right - it's not the pure art that she's interested in and involves other stuff that doesn't interest her (stuff like market research/questionnaires/etc).

Her art teacher is recommending graphics - if DD decides not to take it further it would be useful if she wanted to do an apprenticeship in design.

I do agree with the teacher, but then I can also see where DD is coming from - that it would be better to do the course she really wants, rather than attempt a course that her heart isn't really in.

I don't really know what to advise her to be honest. She's not overly academic and I'm not sure whether college/uni is really for her, so on one had, I would say the graphics course, but she also has to enjoy it and I think she'd enjoy fine art more and therefore work harder and get the better grade.


ShellingPeasAgain Wed 03-Feb-16 14:52:22

I'd advise she does what she enjoys. DD is interested in a design degree, also not overly academic. She wants to do Art Textiles or Art Design rather than fine art as it fits well with her other option of Resistant Materials (which I believe is woodwork/metal work/designing stuff).

Would fine art let her pursue what she needs at A level? If so then I would say go for it.

Ellybellyboo Wed 03-Feb-16 18:50:58


She has no clue what she wants to do, or even if she wants to do A levels.

I think from the teacher's point of view, the graphics GCSE would be the better option as it can stand alone (if you see what I mean) if she does decide she wants to look for an apprenticeship or something.

DD is much more interested and keen on the fine art so I think she would be better sticking with that, but DD is worried it's a wasted GCSE

QueenMolotov Wed 03-Feb-16 19:15:50

I'm from a fine art background: I have a fine art GCSE; art and design GNVQ; fine art degree (with honours); art and design history MA.

I would advise that your dd does what she loves, rather than what she 'should' do. Do what a makes her happy - life is for living and enjoying, after all smile

Fine art obviously covers the practical elements of art making e.g. drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, installation, etc, but at it's core, it's a culture and humanities course (especially the higher you get). Philosophy becomes a visual code, so to speak. To really flourish on a fine art course, you have to go beyond what you can see, and think about the artist's intentions, their perspectives, what informed those perspectives, what comment is being made upon society/culture, etc. Fine art probes many diverse areas and asks many questions: a good fine art student should be interested and well-read about surrounding subjects which inform their practice.

This kind of stuff is for BA level and beyond, though. At GCSE level, your dd might learn about Andy Warhol and be invited to study elements of his work and produce a piece inspired by him - a good student would absorb the visual material and get a sense of what what happening in culture and the arts of the USA in the 1960s (as well as producing a thoughtful and piece of work!)


Tigerblue Thu 04-Feb-16 10:28:22

All schools are different, but as long as they've got a B at GCSE in any art subject, they can do a different art subject at A level in sixth form at my DD's school, ie she's doing Art Textiles now, but could do Fine Art, Photography or Graphics in Sixth Form. It would be worth checking on this.

My DD looked at coursework carried out and decided Art Graphics wasn't for her. I wasn't sure Art Textiles was for her, but she's thoroughly enjoying it and doesn't mind going in at lunchtime or after school to catch up - doing an art subject involves quite a lot of extra work at times, so important to do something they enjoy. A GCSE pass can never be a waste and it proves to an employer she has a keen eye for detail and can present things well.

bojorojo Thu 04-Feb-16 12:30:51

My DD did Photography and Art at A level. Really time consuming but she loved doing them. She did textiles as part of the Art A level (learned to crochet!) and her portfolio was not just fine art. She did Art GCSE and got a B (not happy with that result at all) but achieved an A for Art and A* for Photography at A level - at a different school. I don't think you have to specialise at GCSE. She should do art if she thinks she would do better and enjoy it. Art leads on to other courses and graphics is more one dimensional. With art, you don't have to be academic. You have to be good at art. That's the beauty of it.

Ellybellyboo Thu 04-Feb-16 14:44:08

Thank you!

The more I read, the more I think the fine art course is the one for her.

We're going to have a good look through the course information over the weekend take it from there.

She seems to be leaning towards fine art, so we'll see

Thanks for all your help!

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Thu 04-Feb-16 14:48:11

Dd is doing both and loves graphics more. Her HoY gave us some very good advice when choosing options, "do what makes you happy".

I don't think any gcse is a waste of a gcse. Art is seen as quite a tough subject due to the amount of work so will give her transferable skills such as working to deadlines, prioritising, etc which will be useful.

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